Whatever the holiday—Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, and so on—The Citizen has always taken pride in creating gift guides that spotlight locally made goods that do good too. And in a year when our small and minority-owned businesses have been hit especially hard, supporting our local retail ecosystem is a do-good act unto itself (bonus points when brands are socially-conscious, to boot).
Take Kimberly McGlonn’s Grant BLVD, through which McGlonn and her small team not only turn out gorgeous clothes, but sustainably repurpose fabrics, donate a portion of proceeds to causes like the Philadelphia Bail Fund and Books Through Bars, and (prior to Covid-19) trained and hired returning citizens. In March, McGlonn was set to open doors to her brick-and-mortar shop. When officials lifted retail restrictions, her team was able to welcome shoppers to their University City space in July, but not without challenges.
“We’ve had to do some things to try to mitigate our losses and reduce our overhead, including moving to weekend hours. So if people want to shop with us, we’re open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and we’re still so very happy to meet people in our reimagined garage space,” she says. She’s been grateful to the community for rallying around her and her team—and she implores everyone to re-think their shopping during the holidays, and beyond.
In a year when our small and minority-owned businesses have been hit especially hard, supporting our local retail ecosystem is a do-good act unto itself.
“In thinking about what local business owners, small businesses, women-owned, Black-owned businesses need, it’s a lifestyle shift. We’re becoming unsustainably reliant on things that are bad for the planet, companies that are bad for the planet, practices that are bad for the planet because of this state of trying to figure out how to save time,” she says. “And if we don’t support local businesses now, our shortsightedness is going to destroy our return to what we used to love so much.”
We couldn’t agree more. So we implore you to please—please!— shop local: Hit up your indie bookstore instead of Amazon, peruse your favorite local artist’s wares on Etsy, fill those stockings with gift cards to local restaurants, retailers and museums. And check out the goods in the gift guide below, which pay tribute to Philadelphia while also supporting the creators who call our city home.
However and whatever you celebrate, we wish you a happy, healthy holiday season, and much peace and community in the new year. ✨
Totes the Coolest
Time to upgrade your threadbare NPR tote: These limited-run Philly-themed bags from local crochet installation artist Nicole Nikolich were inspired by Nikolich’s love of street art. “I wanted to create bags for people who enjoy my public art yarnbombs and wanted something of mine for themselves or a loved one,” she says. “These totes give people something they can physically hold and collect, should my art inspire them to do so.” From $29, here.
The write stuff
Mighty Writers, the Philly nonprofit that empowers kids to find and use their voice through writing, just published Writing in Quarantine, a hardcover collection of 30 young people’s pieces on life as a kid during the pandemic. You can order it for $30, or tag on additional funds to help raise even more money for MW’s incredible array of city-wide programs. From $30 here.
Tangled up in “Blue” (and yellow and red and… )
United By Blue’s colorful blankets blend recycled wool with fibers saved from landfills to create soft, durable, machine-washable throws. And, as always, for every item purchased, the mission-driven, Philly-based B-Corp removes one pound of trash from oceans and waterways. $80 at United By Blue, here.
At Black-owned-and-operated Grant BLVD, local fashion designer Kimberly McGlonn creates the kind of stunning dresses, jackets, and screen-printed tees that will make you stand out on your next Zoom meeting (or virtual date). All of her items are sustainably made, plus she donates a portion of funds to support efforts like Books Through Bars and Philadelphia Bail Fund; prior to Covid-19, she was training and employing returning citizens, an effort she hopes to resume after the pandemic. Her rad scrunchie trios are made from reclaimed t-shirt scraps—perfect for the teen who’s discovering the 90s for the first time, or the 40-something who’s craving a nostalgic nod to high school. $15 for a three-pack at Grant BLVD, here.
Nourishment for neighbors
Local artist Natalie Hope McDonald, photographer Trevor Adams, and lettering wizard Katie Oleksiak (through her brand, Knockout Lettering) have all generously donated their work to make gorgeous holiday card sets to benefit MANNA, the nonprofit that nourishes families with healthy meals (the ones above are by McDonald). Cards are $30 for 10 cards, and you can choose one artist, or a variety pack. $30 at MANNA’s Holiday Gift Shop, here.
Wear your poetry pride out loud with this comfy sweatshirt from Fishtown’s Harriett’s Bookshop. It pays homage to our city’s most well-known rockstar poets: Sonia Sanchez, Ursula Rucker, Yolanda Wisher and Trapeta Mayson, plus a portion of proceeds go to The Colored Girls Museum. (Psst: Love poetry? Come hear from the city’s astounding Youth Poet Laureate, Cydney Brown, at this year’s Ideas We Should Steal Festival.) From $49 at Harriet’s Bookshop here.
Hydrate for Good
There are 3,089 jillion water bottles out there, but only one benefits Connor Barwin’s Make the World Better Foundation, which improves community spaces with playgrounds, gardens, public art, and more. $35 at Make The World Better Foundation.org, here.
Philly’s seen a pet explosion this year, which means you definitely know/are/live with someone who’d proudly rock these tees to benefit the PSPCA. (Available in multiple colors and as sweatshirts, too.) From $24.99 at PSPCA here.
Blanketed in Philly
At the brand-new, Black-owned Buddha Babe in West Mount Airy, founder and designer Tina Dixon Spence sells precious goods for little ones, like cozy swaddles, funky bibs, and adorable little leggings. We especially love this Philly-themed blanket, perfect for tummy time for tiny ones, and bedtime for bigger kids. $55 from Buddha Babe, here.
2020 has been the year of the puzzle. And this 252-piece, 11 x 14 one of the Philly skyline, packed in a sleek tin case, comes from Maddie Maenn, whose Etsy store, Nachos and Caviar, pays tribute to Maenn’s love of Philadelphia. “Walking along the cobblestone streets full of history, strength, and life, Philadelphia and its community have helped me discover so many magical places while discovering myself at the same time,” Maenn says. “My store is a way to cherish the memories I have made in Philadelphia with some of the most inspiring people I’ve met.” $36 at her Etsy shop here.
Since the start of the pandemic, Philadelphia Sanitation Department worker Terrill Haigler, aka Ya Fav Trashman, has raised more than $32,000 to get his fellow workers suitable PPE. Now, he’s launching his line of merch to purchase sanitizing “guns,” and add to the PPE fund to make sure workers stay fully stocked with cleaning supplies and masks. We especially love the message on this tee, which is simple but true. $28 at yafavtrashman.com, here.
Representation matters: in the workplace, in Hollywood, and definitely in the toy aisle, which for too long lacked dolls with diverse hair, skin, and eye features. Mark Ruffin has set about changing that, with the Philly-based Black Dolls Matter, a line of Black dolls, as well as hoodies, and tote bags. “Black Dolls Matter’s products, website, and social media pages unite to cultivate a positive impact on how African-Americans see themselves, their community, as well as how their community is perceived in the world,” Ruffin says. Each doll $95 at Black Dolls Matter, here.
These very groovy, 100 percent cotton, hand-printed-in-Philly tees with designs by artist Monique Wray benefit a very important initiative: the National Bail Out collective (NBO), a Black-led and Black-centered collective of abolitionist organizers, lawyers, and activists building a community-based movement to end pretrial detention and mass incarceration. 100 percent of profits benefit the NBO. From $25 here.
You know South Fellini for its retro-style tees, ski caps, socks, and irreverent art work. Now, they’re selling a limited edition of cheeky Philly-themed face masks, and donating a portion of proceeds to SewFaceMasksPhilly.com, the nonprofit that provides free masks to healthcare professionals and those in need. $20 at South Fellini, here.
It’s hard to believe that January 26 will mark one year since the shocking death of Lower Merion’s most famous ballplayer. In his honor, Uncle Bobbie’s Bookshop created the LGND line of tees and hoodies, which pays tribute to Bryant’s love of ball and books. Tees for $30, hoodies for $42 at Uncle Bobbie’s Coffee and Books, here.
Hoops never go out of style, and these made-to-order stunners from Zelik Jewelry, created by local designer Bridget Seligson, are available at The Sable Collective in your choice of rose gold-filled, yellow gold-filled and silver. Can’t decide? Get all three. $126 at The Sable Collective, here.
With all of us eating and drinking at home more regularly…and around the clock, it’s time to up our tableware game, with funky coasters like these from women-owned Resting Gift Face. $24 at restinggiftface.com, here.
Only Scrooge could resist everyone’s two favorite mascots. And while Gritty may be emblazoned on everything this holiday season, we especially love him on this 100 percent cotton onesie designed by Ana Thorne, chilling with the OG Philly furball, the Phillie Phanatic. $26 at ArtStar, here.
Infuse your home with the scent of summer—Philly summer: This Cherry Wooder Ice candle from Vellum Street Soap Company will do the trick. $5 at Art Star, here.
We are Saxbys devotees for many reasons, including but not limited to the company’s commitment to uplifting our youth with experiential learning opportunities and employment, and our spirits with caffeine. And this holiday season, they rolled out their Make Life Festive blend , a single origin from Ecuador with notes of baked spiced apple, hazelnut, and orange zest. They’ve also put together festive packages like the The Perfect Pair Bundle, Baby It’s Cold Brew Bundle, and the Merry & Matcha Bundle. From $14.50 at Saxbys, here.
Long before RBG was trending, Elkins Park-based Dissent Pins was paying tribute to the legendary Supreme Court Justice with pins and jewelry that raised awareness and money for meaningful social causes. “When I’m daunted by the important work ahead in 2021, it helps me to remember all the people like RBG who have gone before us and paved the way,” says Nick Jehlen, Dissent Pins’s founder. Check out their dissent collar-themed earrings, necklaces, pins, tie pins, cufflinks, and stickers, which raise funds for initiatives like International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) and Center for Reproductive Rights, among others. From $11 at Dissent Pins, here.
These restaurant and retail gift card packs will have everyone on your list covered. Rittenhouse Row’s “Shop Local” Gift Pack includes ten gift cards to local boutiques in increments of $25, $50 or $100 each. They come packaged together and boxed, and each package includes a surprise gift card from an additional Rittenhouse Row member. Featured vendors include Blue Sole Shoes, Boyds, DFTI, Head Start Shoes, Je Suis Jolie, Joan Shepp, Kimberly Boutique, Lagos, Ritual Shoppe, and Tselaine. Rittenhouse Row’s “Eat Local” Gift Pack features eateries like a.Bar, Cotaletta, D’Angelo’s, Di Bruno Bros., Huda, Mac Mart, Metropolitan Bakery, Stock, Tortorice’s, and Zama. Email [email protected] to order.
That’s a Wrap
Springside Chestnut Hill Academy high school students Mia Costonis and Meena Padhye oversee Sonas To America, an online store that hires 12 women in a weaving village in Cambodia, called Sonas, to create beautiful, 100 percent cotton scarves, face masks, table runners, and more; the students donate all of profits back to the weaving village, to generate income for the women and enable them to send their children to college, a rarity in Cambodia. From $35 at Sonas To America, here
Di Bruno Bros. HOME Warming box includes a 15-ounce pink rose mug, Sister Mary’s Sinfully Delicious Cranberry Sauce, 16-ounce amber glass candle and five ounces of Black Lava Cashews, and all proceeds benefit Project HOME’s commitment to those experiencing homelessness in Philly. You can also purchase items from Project HOME’s online store any time of year, to provide employment opportunities to Philadelphians. $50 at Project HOME, here.
Books to Benefit The Citizen
Get your holiday books at Head House Books this season, and when you mention “The Philadelphia Citizen” in your checkout notes, 20 percent of your purchase will go to The Citizen. Want some recommendations? Check out these selections in our official Ideas We Should Steal Festival bookstore. headhousebooks.com